Micronesia — Festivals and Events
All of the Pacific Islands of Micronesia have their own traditional festivals, the most famous of which may be Yap Day on the island of Yap. Many holidays celebrated throughout the island commemorate important moments in history like National Day, the day the islands became self-governing territories, and Liberation Day, when the United States took control of the islands from the Japanese during WWII. The island of Kosrae celebrates Christmas with marching parade routines performed during day-long church services.
Yap Day Festival
The biggest of the island of Yap’s many mitmit feasts takes place on the first weekend in March. Each village on Yap takes turns hosting this unique festival which has only recently been open to visitors outside the island. Yap Day is most famous for the intricate dances the villagers practice throughout the year and perform only once in a lifetime. The brightly dressed villagers perform stick dances, standing dances, sitting dances, and kneeling dances. The Yap Visitors Bureau hosts a reception during the festival’s final days and pays special honor to the guest who has traveled the longest distance to attend.
Each of the Federated States of Micronesia have their own constitution day holidays, but the entire island nations celebrates the date, May 10, on which the country’s national constitution was founded in 1979. This is not really a lively festival, but rather a day of rest and relaxation which Micronesians spend at shopping centers and parks on this day off from school and work.
United Nations Day
Few places celebrate United Nations Day with more fervor than the Pacific Islands of Micronesia. The island of Yap, in particular, marks each October 24 by closing all government offices, schools, and virtually all businesses. Fairs serving foods around the world and international cultural performances also fill this day celebrating the anniversary of the United Nations charter.
September 11 remains a day of celebration on the Pacific Islands of Micronesia, whose citizens still associate this date as the anniversary of the United States WWII victory over Japan. The island of Kosrae marks the date with a Mardi Gras-style parade, while Pohnpei’s main Liberation Day events are sporting competitions among the island’s communities.